Published in the February 2018 edition of ‘The Bay’ Magazine.
Aphrodisiac Herbs – printer friendly, text version
The use of aphrodisiac herbs is woven into our history, legends and herbal tradition. The word itself is derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
Even in a loving relationship the pressures and routines of everyday life can make the fiery sparks of romance seem like a thing of the past; herbs can help rekindle those flames of desire.
- Withania somnifera – Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha or winter cherry is a herb widely used in Ayurvedic medicine – the Ancient Indian system of healing. It is a deeply restorative herb, valuable following periods of intense physical or mental stress and exertion. Its reputation for restoring vitality to the male reproductive system and improving sperm count has been confirmed by research1; however, it is equally valuable for women.
The wisdom of your body demands a deep reserve of energy for successful reproduction. When you feel drained or have been pushing yourself too hard for too long (such as in the early years of raising children) your body responds with a decreased sex drive. Ashwagandha gives best results taken over a few weeks and preferably combined with some deep relaxation techniques that your body is craving.
Mix 1 teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder with a little warm almond milk and drink morning and night.
- Turnera diffusa – Damiana
Damiana is a brain and nerve tonic specific for anxiety and depression related to sexual dysfunction in both males and females. It was originally named ‘Turnera aphrodisiaca’ relating to its reputation for increasing libido and action as a hormone balancer.
Damiana has a slightly sweet taste that can be enjoyed as a tea, on its own or combined with Liquorice. Mix Damiana and Liquorice in equal parts and use one teaspoon of the mix per cup of boiling water. Allow to infuse for 10 minutes before drinking. The herb is best used over a period of several weeks for the effects to become pronounced.
- Cnidium monnieri
Cnidium with its distinctive umbels of white blossom is a member of the carrot family. Cnidium seeds are effective as an aphrodisiac, creating warmth and a tingling sensation that spreads from the digestive system to the sexual organs over the space of a few hours.
Some of the active components of the seed are not water soluble so the best way to take them is by chewing a teaspoonful of the seeds and enjoying the effects!
- Rosa species – Rose
Long associated with lovers, Rose benefits both men and women, balancing emotions and healing the heart. Medicinally it is used for increasing libido, rejuvenating the reproductive system and enhancing fertility. It is cooling and calming with a feminine energy that makes it valuable for gynaecological problems as well as anxiety and depression.
Rose essential oil is very expensive but a little goes a long way; try using it well diluted in a carrier oil such as almond oil.
Top tip: Your response to scent (and to herbs in general) is very individual. If rose is not the scent for you there are other sensual essential oils to try including Jasmine, Ylang ylang, Cinnamon and Vanilla.
For more complex anxieties and concerns relating to sexuality and sexual function, a full consultation provides personalised support and guidance.
- Lepidium meyenii – Maca
When ancient Andean shepherds noticed that Maca root improved the fertility of their herds its reputation as an aphrodisiac was born. More recently this herb has been the subject of much research which has found that it improves sexual desire despite not directly effecting hormone levels in either males or females.
Post menopausal women can find this herb beneficial as it reduces symptoms such as anxiety and depression whilst improving sexual function2.
And a Bonus: Five From Your Kitchen…. Cinnamon, Ginger, Chilli, Garlic and Black pepper.
Once considered exotic spices, highly sought after and with a price tag to match, now these are commonly found in most kitchens; but don’t let that familiarity make you pass them by.
Increasing blood flow and awakening the parts that other herbs don’t reach, these pungent spices can increase absorption of other aphrodisiac herbs whilst distributing a pleasant warmth and stimulation throughout the body.
Caution: If you are already a ‘heated’ person who suffers from inflammations, anger and irritability, the ‘Five from your Kitchen’ are not suitable for you.
Please consult a practitioner if you are taking any medications or are pregnant before using any of the herbs discussed.
- Vijay R. Ambiye et al, Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 571420.
- Books, N.A. et al. “Beneficial Effects of Lepidium Meyenii on Psychological Symptoms and Measure of Sexual Dysfunction in Postmenopausal Women Are Not Related to Estrogen or Androgen Content,” Menopause (2008) 15:1157.
The Herbal Clinic Swansea provides natural healthcare with the use of organic herbs, acupuncture and iridology.